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Prelate backs ban on tobacco sale

Archbishop wants Nagpur initiative of no cigarettes near schools extended across India

Archbishop Abraham Viruthakulangara Archbishop Abraham Viruthakulangara
  • Saji Thomas, Nagpur
  • India
  • January 19, 2011
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A Catholic archbishop in central India has given his backing to a city government’s crackdown on selling tobacco near educational institutions.

“The administration’s move is really laudable and I endorse it totally,” Archbishop Abraham Viruthakulangara of Nagpur told ucanews.com on Jan. 15.

The archbishop wants the drive extended across the country to save students from drug and tobacco addiction.

Nagpur authorities launched the crackdown on Jan. 11.

So far Nagpur’s drug and food department has begun proceedings against 25 shops and vendors for selling tobacco within 100 meters of schools and colleges.

Archbishop Viruthakulangara said the crackdown has “undoubtedly” highlighted the danger of drugs and tobacco on campuses.

Educational institutions should remain places of learning but the easy availability of tobacco and drugs will lead youths astray, the prelate warned.

Many Catholic educators in the city agreed with the archbishop.

“Of late, tobacco venders outside our college have become a nuisance,” said K. T. Thomas, lay principal of St. Francis De Sales College managed by Nagpur archdiocese.

Attendance at the college has improved since the crackdown began, he told ucanews.com.

Before, students skipped classes to go and smoke, he said.

Thomas did not rule out the possibility that vendors were selling illegal drugs as well as cigarettes and tobacco.

“When students obtain drugs easily, they tend to become addicts and lose interest in studies and life,” he added.

Related report
Catholic fights tobacco use among students

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